Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays my Oscars favourite songs

In no particular order, and for the day that’s in it, it’s Rainy Days and Songdays – my Oscars favourite songs.

It was something daring, I guess, to award a Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1934.

But it was probably a dancing shoe-in for Hollywood superstars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ The Continental.

Dance away

If Fred and Ginger were around today then they’d glide easily down the fabled stairs of the Dolby Theater.

But they are there out front in the Walk of Fame.

All of which we can channel, and which every waiter dreams of aspiring too, in Los Angeles and his environs.

The Continental is one of my Oscar favourite songs and set the standard for every Best Original Song to come.

And in truth for every Over the Rainbow and White Christmas there is a Chim-Chim-Cheree and an I Just Called To Say I Love You too.

Gong with a song

The standard is off the chart which is why the usual Fab Five becomes a Top Ten this week for My Oscars favourites.

10 When You Wish Upon A Star, Pinnochio (1940): 

Pure Disney, and what’s wrong with that.

But this is the craftmanship of Florentine Carlo Collodi so let’s give the Tuscans a shout-out as ‘anything your heart desires will come to you.’

Take it away Cliff Richards as Jimmy Cricket.

9 Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Song of the South (1947): 

One of Disney’s more forgettable films and ‘containing outdated language’ though I just dwell on the Deep South music.

James Baskett’s deep anthem is about as happy a song as you’ll ever hear.

And in a cutesie overload Mr Bluebird’s on James’s shoulder too. Everything truly is satisfactual!

8 Three Coins In The Fountain (1954): 

No me neither, nor the singers Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire and Jean Peters who each sang the titular song.

But anyone who has ever been to the Trevi Fountain in Rome will either hear someone singing it there while throwning coins over their head into the water.

Or they will be encouraged to do so.

Singing Cowboys

7 Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969):

And if you love the Wild West  then you’ll love the scene where Paul Newman (Butch) and Katharine Ross (Etta) mess about on the bicycle in Utah.

And Burt Bacharach’s velvety lyrics and BJ Thomas’s smooth delivery set it all off.

6 The Time Of My Life, Dirty Dancing (1987): 

The beauty of a good song is trying to recreate it in your bedroom which is what hairbrushes were made for, although Patrick Swayze’s quiff just came naturally.

But if you truly want to channel your inner Johnny and Baby then you’ll want to get out to Lake Lure Inn & Spa in North Carolina.

And have Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes on the boom box.

5 The Streets of Philadelphia (1993): 

You’re probably exhausted after that (I know I am) so let’s slow it down with the Boss’s evocative and powerful Streets of Phladelphia.

Of course, the actual streets of Philadelphia aren’t as gut-wrenchingly emotional as this song and are actually fun-packed as this vid shows.

Better still if you go to Philly the City of Brotherly Love, and find out for yourself.

Drum roll please

4 Born Free (1966): 

And another to pull on your heartstring with the story of Joy and George Adamson, played by real-life couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers.

They released Elsa the Lioness into adulthood and released her into the wilds of Kenya.

All of which brings back warm memories of meeting our lioness out in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

And yes, I sang Matt Monro’s classic in my head then… I didn’t want to stir my lioness.

3 White Christmas, Holiday Inn (1942):

Many of us are probably unaware of Irving Berlin’s inspiration for the best-selling song of all time (I was).

Berlin, a Jew, who didn’t celebrate Christmas had all the more reason to get maudlin on December 25.

His three-week-old son died on that day in 1928. Bing Crosby gives it a timeless uplifting feel.

2 Over The Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz (1939):

And the ultimate in what Daddy’s Little Girl so beautifully puts it, a Happy Sad Song.

And layering on the sentamentality it was the first movie my Dear Old Mum saw in her nearest big city, Derry.

She recalls the switch from black and white to colour seemed like magic to an 11-year-old country girl.

A country girl like Kansas lass Dorothy.

And the winner is…

1 Moon River, Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961): 

Tiffany’s in New York is no more magical than any other jewellery store methinks.

But perhaps that’s because I’m an alpha male bloke, while Breakfast to me is a bagel.

Put them together though and Breakfast At Tiffany’s carries you off to a wonderful escapist world.

It’s the adventurer in me andyou had me Audrey Hepburn at ‘there’s such a lot of world to see.’

So these are my Oscar favourite songs. Now what about you? 

 

 

America, Countries, Culture, Sport

My Sporting Weekend – Reagan, The Gipper and the Super Bowl

Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush will be watching the Super Bowl on a cloud up there shouting ‘One more win for the Gipper’.

Ronnie’s most famous acting role, other than as the 40th President of the USA, was as Notre Dame great George ‘The Gipper’ Gipp in the 1940 film Knucke Rockne, All American.

And like all the best method actors he even took it into his own life off the screen, adopting the persona in his political campaigning.

As we mark Reagan’s birthday today (he would have been 110) we can look forward too to the Super Bowl tomorrow too.

It features the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And while nobody is saying Ronnie was a Patrick Mahomes nor Tom Brady, he had some American football acumen having turned out as a lineman for Eureka College in his native Illinois.

And like both he boasted Irish heritage.

Ronald Reagan’s Irish heritage remembered in his Library

The Great Communicator made California his home, of course.

And that’s where you’ll find him now, and where everything Reagan related is kept at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. in Simi Valley 40 miles from Downtown Los Angeles.

Keepers of the Reagan flame

Just like Ronnie himself, the keepers of the Reagan flame are charm personified as I soon discovered at the American Travel fair, IPW.

And like the best friends they always stay in touch.

The good folk at the Library have put on a virtual event which does justice to the Great Man, livestreamed on YouTube at 12.30pm Pacific/3.30pm Eastern.

Portrait of the Great Man

The commemoration includes brief remarks, a three-volley salute, musical entertainment, and the laying of the Presidential Wreath on President Reagan’s gravesite.

A word or two from Ronnie

Of course as it should be Ronnie, his life, achievements (and remember he oversaw an economic boom and helped end the Cold War), and words are to the fore.

His old office: A replica of the Oval Office

True to the wit of the man, the Library has adapted a famous story from his life to mark the 110th in their spiel for the Big Day.

‘President Reagan would have joked that it is the 71st anniversary of his 39th birthday. As President Reagan quipped on his 73rd birthday ”Even though this is the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday, those numbers don’t faze me at all. I believe Moses was 80 when God first commissioned him for public service. And I also remember something that Thomas Jefferson once said. He said, ”We should never judge a President by his age, only by his works.” And ever since he told me that, I’ve stopped worrying.’

And someone else who fills out the seat of office

Ronnie’s distinguished Vice President and a future President himself, George HW Bush spoke emotionally at the Republic Convention in honour of his great friend in 2004.

He’s up there somewhere

When he exorted the audience by saying ‘this time we can truly win one for the Gipper.’

George HW Bush passed away a couple of years ago when I was in his adopted state of Florida.

I saw then the affection then in which he, and ex-Presidents, are held there and across the country.

So tomorrow, whoever wins, let’s here the clarion call: ‘Just one more win for the Gipper.’